April 2015 Issue - page 1

Vol. 22 No.4
Our 22nd Year
April 2015
LANC., PA 17604
by Crystal Piaskowski
Red coils threw heat from the
ceiling as a sea of bodies wrapped
in black broadcloth listened atten-
tively to the speaker at the front of
the room. A life-sized horse statue
stood to the speaker’s right, his
large metal body unruffled by the
room’s chilly, garage-like interior
or by the incessant, incompre-
hensible chant of the auctioneer
in the adjoining space. Wide-
brimmed straw hats sat atop the
heads of the seated men, while
their miniature, beardless sons
fidgeted next to them and avoided
the stares of their modest mothers.
An assortment of Amish families
turned out for the first “Plain
Community Horse Maintenance
and Care Clinic,” sponsored by
Omega Horse Rescue and Reha-
bilitation Center, to further their
understanding about keeping their
horses sound, healthy, and well
On the evening of February
13, 2015, the PAAuction Center
in Quarryville was bustling. As
the clock drew nearer to the 6 pm
clinic start time, interested parties
ambled down the cement ramp to
the neighboring room where fifty
folding chairs were waiting in
front of a blank projector screen. A
side table held pamphlets, stuffed
ponies to be given to children
under ten years old, a scrapbook of
rehabilitated rescue horses, large
donated horse blankets and halters,
and gift buckets full of fly spray,
shampoo, sweat scrapers, brushes,
and feed. Kelly Smith, director of
the Omega Horse Rescue in Air-
ville, PA, passed out raffle tickets
for the gift buckets and encouraged
folks to take the blankets for their
horses. One man immediately
took a blanket outside to his buggy
Bad Rap
In the eyes of the equestri-
an community, the Amish often
Amish Horsemanship Clinic Bridges Gap Between Plain People and Rescues
have a bad rap. Owners who think
of their horses as family members
are appalled by the oftentimes
skinny trotters pulling buggies
in extreme heat and hear horror
stories of overgrown hooves,
rain rot, ringworm, or old driving
horses being sold for meat. For-
tunately, this picture is frequent-
ly the exception, not the rule.
Despite cultural differences, the
Amish do value their horses and
want to preserve their wellbeing
for as long as possible. This clinic
helped bridge the gap between
good intentions and applicable
Nicole Boyer of the York, PA
branch of the Humane Society
stressed that when they receive
a complaint—usually about an
underweight horse—the Humane
Society is not trying to seize the
animal. Boyer counseled, “I want
to come up with a game plan
with you to improve the animal’s
health and living conditions. We
might come back several times to
the property to make sure things
are coming up to standards, but
we do not want to take your hors-
es away from you.”
“English” speakers Dr. James
Holt, Greg Hill, Joel Nupp, and
Nealia McCracken helped inform
listeners about proper veteri-
nary care, nutrition, dentistry,
and options for rehoming, while
Amish speakers Eli Beiler, John
Beiler, and John Glick spoke
about harness fitting, farrier, and
chiropractic care.
Over the pop-click of soda
can tabs, Dr. Holt, a regular at
the New Holland Sales Stables,
spoke about how the life spans
of horses have extended, and
with proper care, so have horses’
years of productivity. “What we
used to consider ‘old’—horses in
their teens—are now considered
middle-aged and can successfully
move into their twenties.” Dr.
Holt compared the high cost of
treatment (if even possible) to the
much lower cost of recommended
vaccinations to prevent deadly dis-
eases such as tetanus, rabies, West
Nile, and botulism, and advised
regular, rotating dewormers to
keep the parasite population down.
A question rang out: “I’ve
been feeding my horse the same
amount all these years, and sud-
denly I can’t keep weight on him
this year…what’s happened?” Dr.
Holt advised that older horses may
need an increased amount of feed,
or a senior diet, to suitably meet
their nutritional requirements. In
addition, an older horse may need
more frequent tooth care, so he
can eat without the sharp edges of
his teeth harassing him at every
bite. “Tooth care improves longev-
ity the most,” he instructed.
A brief intermission drew
winners for the gift buckets,
with lanky youths shyly picking
out their prizes. Greg Hill spoke
next, explaining the anatomy of
a horse’s 100-foot digestive track
and the importance of small, con-
stant meals consisting primarily
of forage.
“To be clear,” Hill explained,
“the appearance of a ‘hay belly’
doesn’t come from too much hay.
It’s from a poor quality of hay.
You should be looking for a good
mix of either alfalfa/timothy, or
alfalfa/orchard grass with a 12 to
14 percent protein content for a
driving horse.” Salt blocks are also
a recommended addition. “Horses
naturally seek out salt and will start
eating dirt or manure if not getting
enough vitamins and minerals.”
Joel Nupp, an equine dentist
fromWestminster, MD, brought
a horse skull with an adjustable
jaw to the front of the room when
it was his turn to present. Jokes
spread through the crowd about
how he acquired his prop, while
Nupp good-naturedly played
Pennsylvania Equine Council spring newsletter …
pgs. 34 & 35
Babington Mills is Irish Olympian’s latest venture …
pg. 5
Upstart is a prime Derby contender for Rick
Violette … pg. 6
Proud Chestnut is PA’s Most Wanted Thoroughbred
… pg. 9
... and much more!
Equine Health Care, Nutrition &
Therapy Feature … pgs. 14-28
(Continued on page 12)
Equine Health Care Issue!
The first, but not last, Plain Community Horse Maintenance and Care Clinic, held February 13 in
Quarryville, PA, drew dozens of Plain horse owners intent on providing better care to their hard-
working horses.. Veterinarian James Holt was among the Amish and ‘English’ presenters.
Photo by Crystal Piaskowski
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